MONICA Lewinsky has come a long way since her internship in the White House with President Bill Clinton years ago.
She has gone from a 22-year-old White House intern in the infamous blue stained dress to a vocal anti-bullying activist.
Over twenty years later, the 48-year-old will be able to give her side of the story as she has been working as a producer for the series, American Crime Story: Impeachment.
The show expected to premiere on FX on September 7, 2021, revisits one of the darkest moments of her life – her affair with former President Clinton and the impeachment trial that followed in 1998.
Lewinsky spoke to Vanity Fair in August about the series, saying: “People have been co-opting and telling my part in this story for decades.
“In fact, it wasn’t until the past few years that I’ve been fully able to reclaim my narrative.”
THE WHITE HOUSE
In July 1995, Lewinsky moved to Washington, DC, after getting a job as an intern at the White House through a family friend.
Her relationship with Clinton began when she was 22 years old and it first came to light in January 1998 after a leaked telephone conversation she had with co-worker Linda Tripp.
Lewinsky was ambushed by the FBI in the Pentagon City mall and was interrogated in a hotel room.
"That was the most terrifying day of my life, which competes for worst day with the release of the Starr report," she told The Irish Times.
Lewinsky claimed she had sexual encounters with the married president, then age 49, on nine occasions, until March 1997.
She later claimed in an explosive documentary that she deliberately exposed her underwear during an Oval Office bash to get Clinton’s attention.
The ex-president admitted the relationship months later, in August, when he apologized for what he called “a critical lapse in judgment and a personal failure on my part for which I am solely and completely responsible.”
BULLIED FOR YEARS
The 160-page report to the US Congress was followed by the president's impeachment while Lewinsky was in the spotlight for a long time.
She says she was bullied by the media for years after the scandal broke.
Various publications called her names while late-night hosts made sexual jokes at her expense.
As Lewinsky said in a Ted Talk in 2015, "Overnight, I went from being a completely private figure to a publicly humiliated one worldwide. I was patient zero of losing a reputation on a global scale almost instantaneously."
Even in 2019, it was revealed Donald Trump apparently gave White House guests a tour around the area where Clinton and Lewinsky hooked up.
ATTEMPTS FOR A COMEBACK
Since the scandal broke, the 48-year-old tried to reinvent herself a number of times.
In September 1999, she became a handbag designer with accessories bearing her name.
In April the following year, she became a spokeswoman for Jenny Craig, Inc, while in March 2002 she appeared in the HBO special, Monica in Black and White, part of the America Undercover series.
She then moved overseas and in January 2007 she graduated from the London School of Economics with a Master of Science degree.
Her first public interview in over a decade was in 2014, in a three-part television special for the National Geographic Channel, titled The 90s: The Last Great Decade.
At this point, Lewinsky had gradually started becoming an advocate for bullying victims.
In a powerful essay for Vanity Fair in 2014, she stated it was time to "burn the beret and bury the blue dress" and "bring a purpose to my past."
She gave a speech on cyberbullying at a Forbes magazine "30 Under 30" summit and two years later she gave a Ted talk speech about being publicly shamed.
In another essay in Vanity Fair in 2018, she wrote: "He was my boss. He was the most powerful man on the planet.
"He was 27 years my senior, with enough life experience to know better.
"He was, at the time, at the pinnacle of his career while I was in my first job out of college."
THE IMPEACHMENT SERIES
After all this, Lewinsky has made a strong comeback.
In between campaigning and antibullying talks she has been working as an executive producer on Ryan Murphy’s forthcoming TV series on Clinton’s impeachment.
The FX series is an attempt to share her side of the story and will even include her infamous thong flash.
Executive producer Ryan Murphy told The Hollywood Reporter: "I told her, ‘Nobody should tell your story but you, and it’s kind of gross if they do.'"
When you have made a colossal mistake like I did so early in your life, and lost so much because of it, the idea of making a mistake is catastrophic.
Lewinsky will be portrayed by actress Beanie Feldstein who told People: "Monica was silenced in 1998 and 1999, because of her immunity deal with the Office of Independent Counsel.
"She was literally not allowed to speak. So for someone whose story people think they understand, but really they only understand an SNL character, a late-night joke, a picture to be ripped apart, because of her weight or what she was wearing."
"They don’t know the person, they don’t know the human that had to go through a very traumatic, overwhelming experience at 21 to 24 years old," Feldstein shared.
"I really hope that people are exposed to her humanity in a different light by watching this show."
Lewinsky has come a long way since 1998 and her relationship with the former president affected her life greatly but she states it's time to move forward.
"When you have made a colossal mistake like I did so early in your life, and lost so much because of it, the idea of making a mistake is catastrophic.
"And yet in order to move forward, I have to take risks. I have to try things. I have to continue to define who I am," she told The Irish Times.
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